Are you a currently an independent contractor, freelancer or want to start your own self-employed business? Well it’s a great way to earn extra money on the side or even full time once your business has kicked off.

We share 5 key steps as you make your move into a self-employed business.

1. Choose a good business idea

Perhaps you have a hobby that you love, or a particular passion? This may be a good business idea to choose. If you do, you could start earning income from something you would happily do anyways, for free! Still, you’ll need to consider if there is a desire for your product or service, if it’s viable against your competitors, and evaluate the time and money it may take to get started.

You should also validate your idea by talking to potential customers. Ask them if your product is something they would pay for and if the price point is reasonable.

2. Write out your plan

Take time to write down your roadmap for success over the first 5 years. A business plan is very important and will help keep you on track and serve as your proposal if you are seeking funding.

Include your company description, market analysis, marketing & sales plan, your pitch, what makes your business unique etc. Reckon has created a free business plan template for you to download here.

You can also check out other templates, such as from, and LawDepot.

3. Make it legal

There’s a few things you need to do before you get started. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Apply for an ABN – it’s not compulsory but comes with many benefits.
  • Decide on a business name and register it. Can’t think of one? Try crowdsourcing a creative name using Naming Force or SquadHelp. Simply launch a contest, receives hundreds of catchy ideas, and then select your winner.
  • Protect your business name and ideas, and file for trademark protection. You can apply for a trademark through IP Australia.
  • Register your website name. Use Netregistry or VentraIP to check if your preferred domain name is available and then register the URL – simple. Remember to pick a name that represents your brand. If you want to buy a web address, you’ll need to be a commercial entity and have either an ABN or ACN.
  • Understand and set aside taxes that you’ll need to pay at the end of the year, including registering and paying GST. This is required if your GST turnover is $75,000 or more.
  • Check if there are any registrations, licences and permits required for your business. Open an Australian Business Account to manage all your government-related documents.
  • Make sure you arrange the right insurance and protect yourself.

4. Financial management

Before you launch, ensure you have all cash flow processes and accounting solutions in place. You’ll need to be ready to track expenses, send invoices, and complete your end year bank reconciliation. You can manage this with online accounting software such as Reckon One, an extremely affordable option, and a great fit for self-employed businesses.

5. Create a brand, and be ready to launch your business

To start gaining attention and attracting customers, you’ll need to have a marketing plan in place. Begin by designing a logo, choosing your brand colour scheme, fonts and imagery, tagline and identify your brand’s tone of voice (what you say and how you say it).

Make sure you have an online presence as this is where you’ll find most of your customers. You can easily build and set up your website using Wix or Squarespace. These tools help you create a beautiful professional looking website using the easy-to-use, customisable templates.

Also, do a search of other marketing tools to help get your brand out there. Some of our favourites are SumoMe for analytics & optimisation, Google Keyword Planner for AdWords, Moz Tools for search engine optimisation, and Canva for help with creating beautiful images to use for social media and flyers.

For more information on getting your self-employed business started, visit, they have some great resources!